Dominguez hits cleanup for first time this year

Dominguez hits cleanup for first time this year

CHICAGO -- Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez celebrated his 24th birthday Wednesday by batting in the fourth spot in the lineup for the first time this season. All-Star catcher Jason Castro, who has been hitting fourth, was out of the lineup against Chris Sale, who's tough on lefties.

Dominguez hit fourth twice last year. He was moved into the fifth spot in the order earlier this week after batting eighth for much of the season. He entered Wednesday hitting .240 with 19 homers and 66 RBIs, including .340 (18-for-53) with five homers and 10 RBIs in his last 14 games.

"My swing feels good," Dominguez said. "I've got some good confidence going right now and going through a good little streak now, and the whole team is swinging it good and we're kind of feeding off each other."

Astros hitting coach John Mallee, who had Dominguez when he was drafted by the Marlins at 17 years old, said he's been working on slowing down his front side and staying behind the ball.

"He's always had the ability as a hitter," Mallee said. "He had some mechanical things to work on. Like any young hitter, his approach is going to get better and better and better the more he plays and he learns how to attack certain types of pitchers and how certain guys are trying to get him out. He's able to make adjustments more efficiently, and that's through experience."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.